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More Menopause Goddess Flashbacks: What We Wish We d Known Sooner About Friendship

Posted Aug 31 2009 11:12pm
Here s another flashback of learning we Menopause Goddesses wish to share with our daughters and younger sisters. Looking in that rear view mirror lends a clarity sometimes that brings everything into sharp focus and makes us wonder how we could have missed the obvious back then. I have a sense that the generations following us have some of this down already, but it doesn t hurt to reiterate it, just in case.

Friends Are More Important Than You Think
Looking back, the Venuses wished they d known sooner how beautiful, fragile, and important friendship would be in their lives. While a couple of us always had very close female friends, many felt they missed out on the true joys of friendship in the early years.

One of the possible reasons for this youthful missing out had to do with seeing other women as competitors rather than companions on a similar journey. Courtney-Venus described this sense in her own words.

I didn t really trust my women friends. I was completely
self sufficient and didn t need anyone. I had friends and
enjoyed them but was too distrustful to appreciate the
give and take of friendship.

Claire-Venus voiced her feelings thus:
Friends were for partying together and keeping each
other company. Friendships were not as important as significant
other relationships, although you could be more
of yourself with friends. Friendships could be sacrificed
to a sexual whim or to a lover who wanted you to himself.

Too many of us experienced the lack of close friends in our twenties and thirties. We didn t know what we were missing until much later.

What we wished we d known much sooner was that friendships, especially with other women, would be the sustenance for our hearts and souls. We wished that we d known how monochromatic and unfulfilling a life without intimate female friendships could seem. That these connections were so profoundly important to us came as a bigger revelation than the one that men are wired differently than women. It surely made as powerful an impact on who we are.

Looking at friendship now, the Venuses find it hard to fathom how we could have deprived ourselves of this most necessary part of life. We can no longer imagine spending our days without the succor and support of our sisters. We are grateful every day for the presence and love of our girlfriends.

Beej-Venus celebrates friendship in her own words:

Friendships are what enriches life beyond all else. Without
friendships, very little spiritual and emotional growth
would be possible. Friendships require energy, the kind
of energy that begets energy, and the more that you put
into them, the more expanded life becomes. At this age,
being emotionally honest, supporting one another, and
sharing soul to soul is HUGE. The women in my life are
my greatest blessing!

Once we let them in, friends become a constant in our life s journey. We find that we cherish our girlfriends as sisters of the heart. Jane-Venus continues on the unchanging nature of friendship:

I now know that friends are our most precious possessions.
They have helped to shape who we are and where we are
going. Friendship should evolve and change, however what
made you friends in the beginning is still there at the core.

Courtney-Venus likens friends to our chosen family:

"Friends are the people you select. Good friends tell you
what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. I am at
an age where I appreciate the great friends I have.
I understand they aren t perfect and I don t have to be either.
We can really be ourselves and accept each other.

Give And Take
True friendship requires investment and caring. We need our friends and must take time to nurture and grow our relationships.

In my twenties, I lost a dear friend because I didn t nurture the relationship when it was most important. I was going through a painful, protracted divorce and completely lost in my own difficulties. My friend was diagnosed with uterine cancer and called to tell me. I will always regret that I did not travel to her side and lend my support. Even though she had her family and husband, there is simply no substitute for a girlfriend when you are in need. She survived, but the friendship didn t.

I learned a painful lesson, one which I hope has made me a better friend to my current intimates. A friend has to give back, even when she is in crisis herself. It s never only about me.

Carol Ann-Venus expands on this:
It (friendship) is such a gift. Never take it for granted.
Nourish it. Most important, be the friend you want to
have.

Friends For A Season
The Venuses have all lost friends along the way. We wish we d known earlier that this is normal and natural. We may not keep all friends forever. Some relationships may fall away after time, for reasons known and unknown. It seems that there are seasons to certain friendships, and though we may grieve,we now understand that no fault exists when we don t remain close to a particular friend forever. We keep the memory of what was best in that friendship or take the lessons we learned to enrich our subsequent relationships. What never changes, once we acknowledge its centrality to our lives, is our need for intimate female connection.

Bobbi-Venus underscores this simply:

My friendships are one of the most important things in my
life and I do my best to nurture them. My friends are those
I trust with my journey, my struggles, my joys, my discoveries,
and wisdom, my failures and pain. Friendships are sacred. Friends
are honest and supportive, nurturing to thesoul, accepting of our love,
and there for us when we need
them most.

Basically, I d die without my girlfriends!

That just about says it all.
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